The e-Vermont Community Broadband Project worked with partner Digital Wish to implement 1:1 computing initiatives in 4th – 6th grades at schools in e-Vermont towns.
1:1 computing brings technology into the classroom in a way that lets every student have their own computer and Internet connection. Online resources become easily accessible for any classroom activity by all students at the same time. In the Digital Wish program, computers also went home with the students.
While the e-Vermont grant funded computers in e-Vermont communities, Digital Wish has developed resources for anyone interested in how to fund technology for school classrooms (here)
Having the right equipment in a classroom is only one step in transforming the educational experience. Digital Wish follows a particular roadmap that integrates equipment, teacher training, and the broader community in ensuring that technology truly enhances educational goals. The strands of their initiative, and levels of progress along each strand, are shown on this chart.
Click here for more ideas about integrating technology into the curriculum.
For a sense of the difference this approach made in e-Vermont schools, check out these collected stories.
Digital Wish is one example of a 1:1 computing initiative. The Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation provides general resources and references for learning more about the ideas behind this approach.
Digital Wish makes resources available to help teachers, administrators, parents and community members bring technology to classrooms. Their website (www.digitalwish.com) provides:
- Grant Library
- Fundraising Library
- Digital Wish's own fundraising tool
- Video "The Importance of Technology in American Schools" designed to help argue for the importance of computer technology
- Video "The Need for a Shift to Mobile" a version of the previous video focused on mobile devices
- Regularly updated articles on technology in schools
A grant from the A.D. Henderson foundation allowed Digital Wish to return to e-Vermont schools in 2012 and study how they successfully sustained their technology initiatives. As a result, Digital Wish now offers:
- Free Online Course in Sustaining a Technology Program
Technology isn't simply a stand alone curriculum area - it's a tool that can enhance learning across the curriculum. Surveys conducted by Digital Wish in classrooms they worked with indicate that technology effectively engages students in learning regardless of subject area:
- 73% of students agree that schoolwork is more enjoyable when using a computer.
- 85% of students report that they produce better work and pay closer attention to lessons when they use a computer.
- 95% of students report that it is important to have their own computer at school.
- 86% of students say they get work done more quickly when using a computer.
- 85% of students report that having technology in school is important to their future.
The full survey report is here.
As part of e-Vermont, Digital Wish staff led over 3,000 educator trainings and worked directly in the classroom every week. A follow up survey found that in 80% of schools, teachers' use of technology continued to increase even after the year of intensive assistance ended.
If you're looking for ideas on integrating technology into lesson plans, Digital Wish offers a Lesson Plan Library here. Digital Wish also works to extend learning beyond the classroom and beyond the school day. See for example:
- After School Website Design & Game Programming Project (in partnership with Microsoft)
- Cyber Citizenship Poster Contest (2010 Showcase); see also these references on Internet Safety from e-Vermont (current as of 2011)
- Stories from e-Vermont Communities
In addition to curriculum planning, it's also important to minimize the number of practical challenges that can cause hiccups in the process of integrating technology into the classroom. The welcome kit that went with computers to e-Vermont schools can help plan ahead for things like equipment use policy and communicating with parents so that they don't detract from other learning objectives. (Check the School Modernization Initiative blog for any updates to this information)
Through the e-Vermont project, Digital Wish provided a laptop for every student in grades 4, 5, and/or 6 in e-Vermont schools (1:1 computing) along with weekly training for students and teachers in technology integration. Here are some stories from e-Vermont schools:
- Communication and Consistency on the Rise (Hardwick)
- Students Help Families Lead the Way for More Technology Funding at School (Fairfield)
- Students Teaching Parents (Jay / Westfield)
- Students Taking Charge in the Classroom (Bridgewater)
- New Opportunities with Technology Bolstered by Committed Instructional Support (Calais)
- New Technology Initiates Connections for Teachers and Students (Morristown)
- Students Get Creative with Building on Ideas (Jay)
- Online School Newsletter for Community Connection (Moretown)
- Technology Ties into the Curriculum (Addison)
- After-school Program Expansion (Middletown Springs)
- 1:1 and Cloud-based Computing = Tools for Student Success (Castleton)
- New Technology Infrastructure Helps Teachers Improve Student Focus & Participation (Richford)
- Fairfield Fifth Grader Makes Most Out of Tech Tools (Fairfield)
- 5th Grader Helps Mom Sharpen Tech Skills (Dover)
- Laptops Mean 1:1 Learning at Dover Elementary (Dover)
- Kids, Classrooms and Computers with Digital Wish